Team TMN catch up with Naomi Chadderton, Editorial Manager at Action Global Communications, who talks about transitioning from journalism to PR and what she thinks about the media industry in the Middle East…
Name: Naomi Chadderton
From: United Kingdom
Current job title: Editorial Manager, Action Global Communications
When did you first arrive in Dubai?
I arrived in Dubai fresh out of university back in 2008, which seems like a lifetime ago now.
Where did you work prior?
I originally started my journalism career as an intern for Grazia Middle East, where I continued to work for three and a half years as Junior Fashion and Beauty Editor. I then moved over to The Dubai Mall Magazine before returning to the UK and working in London for a year. I was also Fashion and Beauty Editor for Ahlan! Magazine right before I joined Action.
What were your first impressions of the media industry in the Middle East?
I was a young pup when I first started working in magazines, so of course I was dazzled by the glitz and glamour of it. It didn’t take long for me to figure out how much hard work, dedication and long hours it takes to forge a successful career out of it though – not that I’m complaining!
Has your opinion changed much?
The industry has definitely changed with the times and the declining economic climate, and it’s obvious that everyone is feeling the pinch. The foundations stay the same, but it’s becoming a tougher industry to be in.
Tell us about your current role…
I’ve only been in my current role for three weeks so I’m still learning! But the backbone of my job is to create content across our consumer and lifestyle portfolio to get the client’s messages out to the media clearly and concisely. One day this may be writing press releases, but mostly I will be going back to my creative roots and compiling longer features which can then be pitched to time-poor journalists in need of a story. Other days I’ll be helping pitch to new clients, creating social media plans and brainstorming ideas for events – no day is the same.
What challenges do you face?
While it’s not so much a challenge, it’s been interesting making the transition from journalism to PR and seeing how the other side works and thinks. I just need to make sure I’m now always thinking from the other side’s point of view. This gives me an advantage though, as I know exactly how journalists and influencers work and think and what they are looking for from an PR agency.
How do you overcome writer’s block?
Go for a walk, have a Diet Coke break and try again. If not, sleep on it. Writer’s block definitely kicks in for me later in the day, so I try to prioritise any longer jobs earlier on.
How would you rather be contacted at work?
As a Journalist I would have said email every time, but in my new role I’m open to all forms of communication.
How has content marketing shaped the relationship between journalists and PR professionals in the UAE?
With smaller teams and more focus on money, journalists are definitely under a lot more pressure these days to simply bang out copy in much smaller time frames. I’ve experienced this first hand, so in my new role, I think having quality copy that can be pitched directly to journalists is extremely influential in strengthening the relationship.
Describe yourself in five words…
Creative, loyal, sociable, active and Northern!
What’s your most overused saying?
Five things you can’t live without?
My iPhone, credit card, friends, family and food.
If you weren’t in your current role, what would you be doing?
Anything that would allow me to travel the world for the rest of my life would be fine by me.